On Turning Two
by Sharon Tjaden-Glass
What does it mean for you to turn two?
You are free will.
You can choose to let go of my hand in the parking lot—and then run away from me.
You sometimes refuse to wear a shirt that doesn’t have a fish on it.
You can change your mind in half of a second—Iwantyoutoholdme-NOIDON’T!
You want to use the potty, but you still are surprised by poop in your diapers.
You like the idea of putting on your own pants, but you are too impatient to follow through.
You are new strength.
You are strong enough to climb out of the car seat as I’m trying to buckle you into it.
Bonus—You can also climb out of the shopping cart.
You can hit—and it hurts.
You can run, run, run, head tilted so high to the sky that don’t see the toy that you’re about to trip over.
You are exploration.
You will smear peanut butter on your chair just to see how it looks and feels.
You will climb on the mulch pile—because you can. Oh, you can!
You will turn your Cozy Coupe upside down, climb inside, and sit on the inside of the roof.
You will put Mr. Potatohead’s ears into your ears. Every time.
You will grab that shiny wine glass or knife from the countertop when you see it peeking out from the edge.
You are expression.
You can tell me
milt (a.k.a. milk)
bu! (a.k.a. bug!)
hodju (a.k.a. holdyou, a.k.a holdme)
mama!!! (always with a !)
ruff-ruff and moo (It’s “dog” and “cow!” How many times do we have to tell you!)
mama toffee (mama’s coffee)
and the increasingly popular, potty!
You ask ‘sat? to things that I have to call a thingy (“it’s a sprayer thingy… it’s spraying asphalt.”)
You will repeat anything and everything, trying the words out like new shoes.
And you say far more than I actually understand.
You are interaction.
You hug all of your classmates. All of them.
You can offer me a blanket—and then pull it away at the last second with a giddy laugh.
If you see me eating something—anything—and you will walk over with a sweet smile and a peesh?
You find it funny to “hide” by curling into a ball–right in front of me–and waiting for me to say “boo!”
You are emotion.
Your face contorts into horror when it’s time to come inside.
You crumble into a tight ball when you’re not allowed to watch “the ammals” (a.k.a TV)
You lower your head and cry tiny silent tears when I yell about your drawing on the wall.
You flail your arms when I try to help you wash your hands.
You burst into tears at the sight of another child crying.
And you can cry, cry, cry, for no reason at all.
But turning two doesn’t change some things.
When you are in pain, you still cry out for me. Always for me.
Your heart is still happiness, curiosity, eagerness, and compassion.
And that look of wonder that I saw on your face in the first week of life—it’s still there.
And with your turning two, it means things for me too.
Even more patience.
Even more boundaries.
Even more gentleness.
Even more compassion.
Even more attention to what we all say to each other.
Even more letting you make mistakes.
Even more keeping you safe.
All of it happening, all of the time, on this crazy ride of growing-up.